RÃ¥dstrom heads Ford Martini duo in Argentina Ford Martini World Rally Team drivers Colin McRae and Thomas RÃ¥dstrom made good starts to the Rally Argentina, seventh round of the FIA World Rally Championship, on today's super special stage.
Rådstrom heads Ford Martini duo in Argentina
Ford Martini World Rally Team drivers Colin McRae and Thomas Rådstrom made good starts to the Rally Argentina, seventh round of the FIA World Rally Championship, on today's super special stage. Rådstrom and co-driver Fred Gallagher were fourth fastest in their Ford Focus World Rally Car while McRae and co-driver Nicky Grist, driving the same Focus in which they won the Rally of Portugal in March, were sixth.
Swede Reådstrom, driving his first rally since breaking a leg in February and at the wheel of McRae's Safari Rally winning car, was only 1.8sec behind the fastest time while McRae was 2.5sec behind. "It was fantastic to be back in a rally car competing again and to see all those spectators in the stage was an amazing sight," said 33-year-old Rådstrom. "We sli wide on a few corners and I was a little slow leaving the start otherwise I think we could have been perhaps two seconds faster."
A crowd estimated at 70,000 gathered to watch the spectacular opening at a purpose built stage on the edge of the rally's host city of Cordoba. Three cars at a time raced over the 3.97km test, with live television broadcasting the action throughout Argentina.
News from our Rivals Carlos Sainz (Toyota) was a clear winner of the stage, 1.1 sec faster than championship leader Tommi Makinen. Richard Burns was the leading Subaru in third, with team-mate Juha Kankkunen following Rådstrom. Just 5.5 seconds covered the top 10 cars, with none of the leading drivers suffering major problems on the stage.
The opening leg, west of Cordoba and based around the town of Mina Clavero, is the longest and toughest of the four-day rally. There will be little opportunity for drivers to ease themselves in as the first three stages are regarded as the rockiest and roughest of the event. The drivers restart from Villa Carlos Paz at 07.00 to face eight stages covering almost 133km before reaching Cordoba for the overnight halt at about 17.40.
Nicky Grist: "The first three stages in the morning are rough, tough and very difficult. There's danger lurking around every corner and you just cannot afford to slide wide so we must very precise in our lines through the bends."